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Central Reviews

The Bastard King – Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

Writers: Ralph Jones and Vyvyan Almond Reviewer:  James Garrington Imagine Game of Thrones mixed with a few of Shakespeare’s history plays and touches of Lord of the Rings, but with lots of laughs, and you have something close to The Bastard King. The one-act play is something like an extended comedy sketch, conceived, written and performed by The Awkard Silence, comedy ...

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Entertaining Mr Sloane – Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham

An older and a younger man

Writer: Joe Orton Director: Ian Craddock Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Joe Orton’s black comedy, Entertaining Mr Sloane, premiered in London in 1964 and has had several revivals since. It tells a story of sexual manipulation, though who is being manipulated and by whom becomes less clear as the play progresses. Kath (Elaine Ward) is a middle-aged lady living with her father, ...

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Richard Alston Dance Company – Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Choreographer: Richard Alston Reviewer:  Maggie Constable At the Derngate this week, Richard Alston Dance Company (RADC) stages yet another set of wonderfully exotic dances, in the form of Carnaval, Chacony and Gypsy Mixture, which have rightly received much praise from critics and public alike. The company is renowned for its dynamic choreography and its highly-skilled and athletic dancers. A bonus this ...

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The Wedding Singer – Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

Book: Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy Music: Matthew Sklar Lyrics: Chad Beguelin Director: Nick Winston Reviewer: Clare White Set in the era of pitchy synth pop, big hair and even bigger shoulder pads, The Wedding Singer is a light-hearted dose of 80s kitsch. This musical adaptation of the 1998 rom-com starring Adam Sandler brings together the sweetness and fun of the ...

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Aladdin – Birmingham Hippodrome

Choreographer: David Bintley Composer: Carl Davis Reviewer: John Kennedy Ennui-induced moments of desperate TV multi-channel surfing can hardly avoid a repeat somewhere of the groundbreaking 1981 World At War documentary series, or that career-defining scene in Pride & Prejudice where Colin Firth’s Darcy plunges with svelte-pelt otter eroticism in to that balm-bathing ornamental pond. Carl Davis’ compositions, indeed, are ever to the fore. Tonight, ...

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Gratiano – Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

Writer: Ross Ericson Director: Michelle Yim Reviewer: James Garrington Bassanio is dead – he has been murdered and Gratiano has been taken in for questioning. As he faces his interviewers, he considers all of the possible culprits and what their motives for the crime might have been. Gratiano takes The Merchant of Venice and looks at the plot anew in ...

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Sunset Boulevard – Curve, Leicester

A woman stands staring maniacally

Book & Lyrics: Don Black and Christopher Hampton Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Director: Nikolai Foster Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Andrew Lloyd Webber saw Billy Wilder’s 1951 film, Sunset Boulevard, in the early 1970s but it wasn’t until 1991 that a version of the musical version was performed at Lloyd Webber’s Sydmonton Festival with Ria Jones as Norma Desmond. It was not ...

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Duet for One – The HOUSE, Birmingham REP

A lady in a wheelchair and a man face each other in a book-filled office

Writer: Tom Kempinski Director: Robin Lefevre Reviewer: Selwyn Knight Stephanie, a brilliant violinist at the peak of her career, is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As the disease progresses, she gradually becomes unable to play or even walk reliably. Her husband, also a brilliant musician and composer, has suggested she see Dr Feldman, a psychiatrist, to help her cope with her ...

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